America's Religion

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by PoliticalChic, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    There have been a number of threads based on one view of religion in America, or another, but each has been limited in that they are for or against religion or a particular religion…

    What has been overlooked is that there is a species of religion that is the nexus of religion and politics, that occupies a large part of the public space. Civil religion.

    1. Civil religion is not a state religion, but rather an expression that religionizes national values, national heroes, national history, and national ideals The prayers offered by “civil religion” are to a expansive god-behind-all-gods—a national unifying god. Civil religion is the common ecumenical ground where we all can gather—not just all Christian denominations, but all religions, and even the great host of people who practice no formal religion at all but believe in god and prayer. This is civil religion. The god of civil religion is the "higher power as you know it"—the god behind all religions and everything else.
    Civil Religion

    2. Civil religion uses religious-type words and methods to produce a unifying national religion. We have a series of hallowed rituals like the state of the union address, the national funeral of a President or inauguration. Civil religion finds its saints in the national heroes like Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and others. We have enshrined the sacred text of the Constitution, the death of Lincoln is our own story of giving one’s life so that others may live; Arlington cemetery is just one of a dozen sacred places for us, complete with its "eternal flame." Our flag is such a sacred object to us that we urge our congress to pass a law nobody may "desecrate" it—one can only desecrate what is sacred. We often merge our piety with our patriotism. Freedom is the ultimate value and we are willing to die for it.

    a. The American’s book of Genesis is the Mayflower Compact. Our exodus is the Declaration of Independence. Our book of the law is the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We have our periodic prophecies, the greatest being Washington's farewell address. Our psalms include the Star Spangled Banner and God bless America. The gospel of true Americanism is Lincoln's second Inaugural address, and so forth. This is what civil religion does. It uses the means and words of religion to unify the state. Ibid.

    3. Our Presidents express this civil religion:

    a. Although President Kennedy recognized this as a largely Protestant nation, he did make frequent references to god—three times in his inaugural address. Robert Bellah, in 1967 first made the keen observation that John Kennedy's use of "god" however was not in the narrow sense as a Roman Catholic, but in the broader sense as a the god-of-us-all, the god of American civil religion. Bellah suggested that Kennedy was doing exactly what his predecessors had done—referring to the unifying god of American civil religion, not any specific narrow denominational god or even the god organized religion like the Christian god, or Roman Catholic understanding of God. It was the god-above-all-gods, the god of American civil religion.

    b. Another example of civil religion can be seen in Barak Obama’s speech on race and religion, which begins:
    "We the people, in order to form a more perfect union."
    Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy.

    And here is the attempt to for a more perfect union between the races…he speaks of the original sin of slavery…thus the melding of religion and politics…usual in America.

    What is difficult to see is President Obama's synthesis of this idea with his professed view that America is no more exceptional than any other nation.

    Our civil religion is the bridge between a liberal secularism, that wishes to see no religious expression in the public space, and a 'religious nationalism,' that would allow none but Christians in said space.

    See also, Civil religion - Definition, and Echoes of American civil religion The Immanent Frame and
    American civil religion - New World Encyclopedia and
    http://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/dspace/bitstream/1808/366/1/Covenant and Civil Religion.pdf and
    American civil religion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  2. HUGGY
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    HUGGY I Post Because I Care Supporting Member

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    Ah!!!! Chick-o-letts raises the bar from nonsense to super nationalistic nonsense. Well done!!! :clap2: :lol: :lol: :lol: That's a high hurdle lassy.!!
     
  3. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    I'm gonna guess that your post means that you understand neither the OP, nor the American people.


    Sorry about that, Hugs.
     
  4. Revere
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    Both. Huggy is the USMB pseudo-intellectual laureate.
     
  5. HUGGY
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    HUGGY I Post Because I Care Supporting Member

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    I understand that atheism is the fastest growing view on religion. It is at about 18% up from 7% 20 years ago. We don't need a super god. We need an informed political public that understands science and truth and democracy.
     
  6. Revere
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    That's YOUR god, then.
     
  7. Coyote
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    Coyote Varmint Staff Member Senior USMB Moderator Gold Supporting Member

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    America's Religion: storefront house of worship beneath arches of gold and where burgeoning acolytes consume succulent sacred wafers in a communion of appetite, grease and speedy service....truely the fasted growing religion in the world!

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Revere
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    Oh, and sluggy, if you're right, why do you need to be popular? 18% after 20 years? Why does it matter?

    Is atheism like AGW, where you can be wrong, but if you're on the path toward consensus, then you're less wrong?
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
  9. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    Not mutually exclusive, not matter what the MSM tell you.
     
  10. Revere
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    Sluggy tell us he has studied it for 55 years, but I know a 15 year old that says the same thing he just did.
     

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